Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 10.4.10 Str. 10.4.15 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 10.4.19

10.4.12

Leucocomas and Euxynthetus his erastes (or lover), whom Theophrastus mentions in his discourse on Love, were natives of Leben. [Note] One of the tasks enjoined Euxynthetus by Leucocomas was this, according to Theophrastus, to bring him his dog from Prasus. [Note] The Prasii border upon the Lebenii at the distance of 60 stadia from the sea, and from Gortyn 180. We have said that Prasus was subject to the Eteocretans, and that the temple of the Dictæan Jupiter was there. For Dicte [Note] is near; not, as Aratus [Note] alleges, near Ida; since Dicte is distant 1000 stadia from Mount Ida, and situated at that distance from it towards the rising sun; and 100 stadia from the promontory Samonium. Prasus was situated between the promontory Samonium, and the Cherrhonesus, at the distance of 60 stadia from the sea. It was razed by the Hierapytnii. He says, too, that Callimachus [Note] is not right in asserting that Britomartis, in her escape from the violence offered by Minos,leaped from Dicte among the nets of the fishermen (δίκτυα), and that hence she had the name of Dictynna from the Cydoniatæ, and the mountain that of

-- 200 --

Dicte. For Cydonia is not at all situated in the neighbour hood of these places, but lies at the western extremity of the island. The mountain Tityrus [Note] belongs to the Cydonian territory; upon it is situated a temple, not called Dictæan, but Dictynnsean. 10.4.13

Cydonia is situated on the sea, fronting Laconia, at an equal distance from both Cnossus and Gortyn, about 800 stadia, and from Aptera 80, and from the sea in this quarter 40 stadia. Cisamus [Note] is the naval arsenal of Aptera. [Note] The Polyrrhenii border upon the Cydoniatæ towards the west; in their territory is the temple of Dictynna. They are at the distance of about 30 stadia from the sea, and 60 from Phalasarna. Formerly they lived in villages; then Achæans and Laconians settled there together, and fortified with a wall a strong site fronting the south. 10.4.14

Of the three cities founded by Minos, the last, which was Phæstus, [Note] was razed by the Gortynians; it was at the distance of 60 stadia from Gortyn, 20 from the sea, and from Matalum, the arsenal, 40 stadia. They who razed the city possess the territory. Rhytium also together with Phæstus belongs to the Gortynians, both Phæstus and Rhytium. [Note]
Il. ii. 648.
Epimenides, who performed lustrations by the means of his poetry, is said to have been a native of Phæstus. Olyssa (Lisses?) also belonged to the territory of Phæstus.

Cherrhonesus, [Note] as it is called, is the arsenal of Lyttus or (Lyctus), which we have before mentioned; on the former is the temple of Britomartis.

Miletus and Lycastus, the cities which were enumerated together with Lyctus, no longer exist; but the territory, after they had razed the city (Lyctus), was partitioned among Lyctians and Cnossians. 10.4.15

As the poet in one place speaks of Crete as having a hundred, and in another ninety, cities, Ephorus says, that ten were founded in later times after the Trojan war by the Dori-

-- 201 --

ans, who accompanied Alhæmenes the Argive, and that hence Ulysses speaks of its ninety cities. This account is probable. But others say, that the ten were razed by the enemies of Idomeneus; but the poet does not say that Crete had a hundred cities at the time of the Trojan war, but in his own age, for he speaks in his own person; but if the words had been those of some person then living, as those in the Odyssey, where Ulysses says, Crete had ninety cities, they might have been properly understood in this manner. But even if we admit this, the subsequent verses will not be exempt from objection. For neither at the time of the expedition, nor after the return of Idomeneus, is it probable that these cities were destroyed by his enemies, for the poet says, but Idomeneus brought back all his companions who had survived the war to Crete; the sea had not deprived him of any of them; [Note] for he would have mentioned such a misfortune. Ulysses indeed might not have been acquainted with the destruction of these cities, for he had not had any intercourse with any of the Greeks either during or after his wanderings; but (Nestor), who had been the companion of Idomeneus in the expedition and in his escape from shipwreck, could not be ignorant of what had happened at home during the expedition and before his return. But he must certainly have been aware of what occurred after his return. For if he and all his companions escaped, he returned so powerful that their enemies were not in a position to deprive them of ten cities.

Such then is the general description of the country of Crete. 10.4.16

With respect to the form of government, which Ephorus has described at large, it will be sufficient to give a cur- sory account of the principal parts. The law-giver, says Ephorus, seems to lay, as the foundation of his constitution, the greatest good that states can enjoy, namely, liberty; for it is this alone which makes the property of every kind which a man possesses his own; in a state of slavery it belongs to the governor, and not to the governed. The liberty also which men enjoy must be guarded. Unanimity ensues, when the dissensions that arise from covetousness and luxury [Note] are

-- 202 --

removed. Now where all live temperately and frugally, neither envy, nor injuries, nor hatred have place among equals. Whence the young were enjoined to repair to the Agelæ, and those of mature age to assemble at the Syssitia, or common meals, called Andreia, in order that the poorer sort, who were fed at the public charge, might partake of the same fare as the rich.

With a view that courage, and not fear, should predominate, they were accustomed from childhood to the use of arms, and to endure fatigue. Hence they disregarded heat and cold, rugged and steep roads, blows received in gymnastic exercises and in set battles.

They practised archery, and the dance in armour, which the Curetes first invented, and was afterwards perfected by Pyrrhichus, and called after him Pyrrhiche. Hence even their sports were not without their use in their training for war. With the same intention they used the Cretan measures in their songs; the tones of these measures are extremely loud; they were invented by Thales, to whom are ascribed the pæans and other native songs and many of their usages. They adopted a military dress also, and shoes, and considered armour as the most valuable of all presents.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 10.4.10 Str. 10.4.15 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 10.4.19

Powered by PhiloLogic